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Kerala: How are local bodies helping control Covid?

The state’s local self-governing bodies are working in cooperation with youth organisations to set up assistance centres for patients

Sabrangindia 19 May 2021

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Kerala has decentralised its Covid-19 management, with local bodies and authorities stepping up and trying out innovative ways to curb the spread of the virus.

With the positivity rate increasing in all districts of Kerala, the government has imposed a triple lockdown within the the assigned areas of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts in such a manner that nobody moves in and out of the district. The second lock is for containment zones in these districts where more cases and their contacts reside. The third lock is at houses where infected and primary contacts reside.

As per some media reports, the state’s local self-governing bodies have joined hands with neighbourhood groups and other youth and civil society organisations to set up guidelines and help contain the spread. They provide food, pulse oximeters, PPE kits, gloves, other Covid related equipment to those in need. Additionally, they have also set up vehicles to help with the final rites of those who have succumbed to the coronavirus, all free of cost.

Joy Elamon, director-general, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), that has trained volunteers in local bodies to tackle Covid, told The Indian Express, “These local bodies have given space for civil society in Covid management. That is what we see in panchayat level war rooms, call centres and domiciliary care centres. Volunteers along with the people’s representatives, panchayat staff and ASHA workers have made the Covid fight a mass movement.”

The panchayats like Mayyil in Kannur, reportedly has 18 wards, and has set up a call centre of its own and deployed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) of 140 active volunteers, including young students, leaders, daily wage earners and taxi drivers. As per an IE report, these wards also have “jagratha committees”, comprising a local panchayat member, ASHA workers, government employees and RRT members. Their main focus is to look after patients under home quarantine.

This panchayat’s President, Rishna KK explained to the IE the methods adopted to monitor cases. She said, “Our call centre is for people to inform us about all their requirements… food, medicine and vehicles to go for Covid tests and vaccination. Three persons have been deployed at the centre to alert RRT teams in each ward on the requests received. The idea is to ensure that people do not come out of their homes for even a minor requirement.”

Mayyil also has a domiciliary care centre, which acts as a quarantine centre for those who do not have a bathroom-attached isolation option at their homes. It also has a ‘people’s hotel’, where a plate of rice and curry costs Rs 20 and for Covid patients and those under home quarantine, this hotel, run by women members of the poverty alleviation mission Kudumbashree, supplies food free of cost thrice a day.  

A week ago, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had chaired a meeting with elected representatives of local bodies asking them to set up 24-hour control rooms at the local level, which will provide complete information on Covid treatment centres. Chief Minister Pinarayi also directed the local bodies to come up with a transportation plan for all patients. While each panchayat should have a minimum of five such vehicles, each urban local body should have 10, he directed.

The district administration, National Health Mission (NHM) and Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) have worked together to set up a large Covid-19 treatment centre in Ambalamugal that became operational from May 16. The first phase led to the opening of 100 oxygen beds, which shall be followed by 500 beds in five days and 1,000 beds in eight days, with 130 doctors and 240 nurses.

The Chief Minister had also announced that all temporary Anganwadi workers of Women and Child Development and Social Justice Department will be paid their salaries throughout the period of lockdown that is in place till May 23. One time assistance of Rs. 1,000 for Below Poverty Line families that do not get Welfare Board pensions, is also part of the plan.

Kerala has recorded close to 22 lakh cases and 6,600 fatalities. The Kerala government, recently, imposed a ceiling on the price charged by private hospitals for Covid treatment and that 50 percent of beds in government and private hospitals, along with medical colleges will be reserved for Covid patients, a move lauded by the High Court too.

Related:

Kerala cabinet: Pinarayi Vijayan remains, drops KK Shailaja!
Kerala gov’t reserves 50% beds in hospitals for Covid patients, caps price for treatment

Kerala: How are local bodies helping control Covid?

The state’s local self-governing bodies are working in cooperation with youth organisations to set up assistance centres for patients

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Kerala has decentralised its Covid-19 management, with local bodies and authorities stepping up and trying out innovative ways to curb the spread of the virus.

With the positivity rate increasing in all districts of Kerala, the government has imposed a triple lockdown within the the assigned areas of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts in such a manner that nobody moves in and out of the district. The second lock is for containment zones in these districts where more cases and their contacts reside. The third lock is at houses where infected and primary contacts reside.

As per some media reports, the state’s local self-governing bodies have joined hands with neighbourhood groups and other youth and civil society organisations to set up guidelines and help contain the spread. They provide food, pulse oximeters, PPE kits, gloves, other Covid related equipment to those in need. Additionally, they have also set up vehicles to help with the final rites of those who have succumbed to the coronavirus, all free of cost.

Joy Elamon, director-general, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), that has trained volunteers in local bodies to tackle Covid, told The Indian Express, “These local bodies have given space for civil society in Covid management. That is what we see in panchayat level war rooms, call centres and domiciliary care centres. Volunteers along with the people’s representatives, panchayat staff and ASHA workers have made the Covid fight a mass movement.”

The panchayats like Mayyil in Kannur, reportedly has 18 wards, and has set up a call centre of its own and deployed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) of 140 active volunteers, including young students, leaders, daily wage earners and taxi drivers. As per an IE report, these wards also have “jagratha committees”, comprising a local panchayat member, ASHA workers, government employees and RRT members. Their main focus is to look after patients under home quarantine.

This panchayat’s President, Rishna KK explained to the IE the methods adopted to monitor cases. She said, “Our call centre is for people to inform us about all their requirements… food, medicine and vehicles to go for Covid tests and vaccination. Three persons have been deployed at the centre to alert RRT teams in each ward on the requests received. The idea is to ensure that people do not come out of their homes for even a minor requirement.”

Mayyil also has a domiciliary care centre, which acts as a quarantine centre for those who do not have a bathroom-attached isolation option at their homes. It also has a ‘people’s hotel’, where a plate of rice and curry costs Rs 20 and for Covid patients and those under home quarantine, this hotel, run by women members of the poverty alleviation mission Kudumbashree, supplies food free of cost thrice a day.  

A week ago, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had chaired a meeting with elected representatives of local bodies asking them to set up 24-hour control rooms at the local level, which will provide complete information on Covid treatment centres. Chief Minister Pinarayi also directed the local bodies to come up with a transportation plan for all patients. While each panchayat should have a minimum of five such vehicles, each urban local body should have 10, he directed.

The district administration, National Health Mission (NHM) and Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) have worked together to set up a large Covid-19 treatment centre in Ambalamugal that became operational from May 16. The first phase led to the opening of 100 oxygen beds, which shall be followed by 500 beds in five days and 1,000 beds in eight days, with 130 doctors and 240 nurses.

The Chief Minister had also announced that all temporary Anganwadi workers of Women and Child Development and Social Justice Department will be paid their salaries throughout the period of lockdown that is in place till May 23. One time assistance of Rs. 1,000 for Below Poverty Line families that do not get Welfare Board pensions, is also part of the plan.

Kerala has recorded close to 22 lakh cases and 6,600 fatalities. The Kerala government, recently, imposed a ceiling on the price charged by private hospitals for Covid treatment and that 50 percent of beds in government and private hospitals, along with medical colleges will be reserved for Covid patients, a move lauded by the High Court too.

Related:

Kerala cabinet: Pinarayi Vijayan remains, drops KK Shailaja!
Kerala gov’t reserves 50% beds in hospitals for Covid patients, caps price for treatment

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